May 27,  Deep diver, Bill Leeman, checks his gear for a last time before entering the water to explore a wreck of the Innes located 70 meters below the surface off the coast of Fujeirah.  May 27, 2011 Fujeirah, United Arab Emirates (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National)
Deep diver Bill Leeman checks his gear before entering the water to explore a wreck of the Innes located 70 metres below the surface off the coast of Fujairah in May.

Diver goes missing on shipwreck expedition



DUBAI //A member of a team of divers who find and explore deep-lying shipwrecks is missing after becoming separated from his colleagues in waters off the northeast coast at Dibba. An extensive search involving boats and helicopters has failed to find any trace of Jan-Lars Hanz, 34, a highly trained and experienced diver from Germany.

Mr Hanz lives in Abu Dhabi with his wife Silke, 40, and their 16-month-old daughter, Julia. A friend who broke the news to Mrs Hanz described the heartbreaking task as his "darkest hour".

The diver went missing on Saturday after beginning a descent on a line to the wreck of a supertanker lying on the seabed 112 metres below the surface.

At 20 metres down, Mr Hanz indicated to the two divers with him that he was having trouble easing the pressure on his eardrums. He signalled to them to continue while he went back up to 10 metres. By the time a second team of divers descended 20 minutes later, he had disappeared.

"We think it could have been a heart attack or something like that, or equipment failure," said Bill Leeman, the dive-team leader. "We'll never know because I doubt they'll ever find him, it's too deep for recovery or even a search.

"Everybody was devastated. It was a 10-metre problem that should never have happened given the level of diving that this guy was at.

"He did everything by the book and was the most capable diver on that trip, totally focused on what he did."

The members of Dubai's Desert Sports Diving Club were on a weekend live-aboard trip on a dhow. The tragedy happened on their second day exploring the wreck of the Sagheera, a Saudi-registered vessel that sank and split into two sections 22 kilometres from shore after an on-board explosion in January 1989.

Mr Hanz was a member of the first of three sets of divers who descended at 20-minute intervals. He is an expert at technical diving, which involves the use of advanced methods to go much deeper than a normal sport diver could manage.

However, the problem he experienced is familiar to every weekend diver - difficulty equalising the pressure of the air in the inner ear.

As a diver descends, the increasing water pressure on the eardrums causes discomfort and sometimes pain, which is eased by using a simple technique to blow air into the inner ear though the air passages.

Because technical divers reach such great depths they have to spend several hours decompressing as they return to the surface - and as a result some hours passed before the team realised that Mr Hanz was missing.

The other two sets of divers and those on the dhow assumed he was completing his dive and decompression procedures as normal. His two companions in the water believed he had returned to the boat.

The alarm was eventually raised by satellite phone: Oman police and coastguard were alerted and boats and helicopters were dispatched to search the area.

"We had a minute's silence on the boat," Mr Leeman said. "We went to the police station in Dibba and spent three hours there. They took statements from our captain and the two diving buddies who were with Jan. It's a police case now and as far as they're concerned it's a diving incident."

Mr Hanz works in strategic supply management for the Cassidian division of the European aerospace and defence giant EADS. His friend and colleague Horst Draudt broke the news that he was missing to Mrs Hanz.

"That was my darkest hour," he said. "A couple of family members from both sides have come over and his best buddy is here giving support. Silke has every material support.

"Jan and I were not just colleagues, I was one of his dive buddies. We had a lot in common, diving was just one of them. We spent a lot of weekends together diving. He was the real expert, one of the most proficient divers I have ever met. I didn't just know him, I know his family."

Members of the UAE diving community have contacted Mr Leeman to express their grief at the loss of a friend who would be sorely missed.

"The loss is huge," he added. "We had all the safety protocols in place but it doesn't make it any easier. I'm devastated about what Silke is going to have to go through."

He said the team, which has dived on five deep-lying wrecks that had never been visited before, would review its safety procedures.

"If we don't learn from our mistakes then we shouldn't be doing this sort of stuff."

SPEC SHEET: NOTHING PHONE (2)

Display: 6.7” LPTO Amoled, 2412 x 1080, 394ppi, HDR10+, Corning Gorilla Glass

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 2, octa-core; Adreno 730 GPU

Memory: 8/12GB

Capacity: 128/256/512GB

Platform: Android 13, Nothing OS 2

Main camera: Dual 50MP wide, f/1.9 + 50MP ultrawide, f/2.2; OIS, auto-focus

Main camera video: 4K @ 30/60fps, 1080p @ 30/60fps; live HDR, OIS

Front camera: 32MP wide, f/2.5, HDR

Front camera video: Full-HD @ 30fps

Battery: 4700mAh; full charge in 55m w/ 45w charger; Qi wireless, dual charging

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Google Pay)

Biometrics: Fingerprint, face unlock

I/O: USB-C

Durability: IP54, limited protection

Cards: Dual-nano SIM

Colours: Dark grey, white

In the box: Nothing Phone (2), USB-C-to-USB-C cable

Price (UAE): Dh2,499 (12GB/256GB) / Dh2,799 (12GB/512GB)

Racecard

5pm: Al Maha Stables – Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 1,400m
5.30pm: Al Anoud Stables – Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,200m
6pm: Wathba Stallions Cup – Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 1,400m
6.30pm: Arabian Triple Crown Round 2 – Group 3 (PA) Dh 300,000 (T) 2,200m
7pm: Liwa Oasis – Group 2 (PA) Dh300,000 (T) 1,400m
7.30pm: Dames Stables – Handicap (TB) Dh80,000 (T) 1,400m

Top 10 most polluted cities
  1. Bhiwadi, India
  2. Ghaziabad, India
  3. Hotan, China
  4. Delhi, India
  5. Jaunpur, India
  6. Faisalabad, Pakistan
  7. Noida, India
  8. Bahawalpur, Pakistan
  9. Peshawar, Pakistan
  10. Bagpat, India
TECH SPECS: APPLE WATCH SERIES 8

Display: 41mm, 352 x 430; 45mm, 396 x 484; Retina LTPO OLED, up to 1000 nits, always-on; Ion-X glass

Processor: Apple S8, W3 wireless, U1 ultra-wideband

Capacity: 32GB

Memory: 1GB

Platform: watchOS 9

Health metrics: 3rd-gen heart rate sensor, temperature sensing, ECG, blood oxygen, workouts, fall/crash detection; emergency SOS, international emergency calling

Connectivity: GPS/GPS + cellular; Wi-Fi, LTE, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay)

Durability: IP6X, water resistant up to 50m, dust resistant

Battery: 308mAh Li-ion, up to 18h, wireless charging

Cards: eSIM

Finishes: Aluminium – midnight, Product Red, silver, starlight; stainless steel – gold, graphite, silver

In the box: Watch Series 8, magnetic-to-USB-C charging cable, band/loop

Price: Starts at Dh1,599 (41mm) / Dh1,999 (45mm)

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

SPECS

Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

The specs: 2024 Mercedes E200

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cyl turbo + mild hybrid
Power: 204hp at 5,800rpm +23hp hybrid boost
Torque: 320Nm at 1,800rpm +205Nm hybrid boost
Transmission: 9-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 7.3L/100km
On sale: November/December
Price: From Dh205,000 (estimate)

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

SPECS

Engine: 4-litre V8 twin-turbo
Power: 630hp
Torque: 850Nm
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic automatic
Price: From Dh599,000
On sale: Now

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Lamsa

Founder: Badr Ward

Launched: 2014

Employees: 60

Based: Abu Dhabi

Sector: EdTech

Funding to date: $15 million

LOVE AGAIN

Director: Jim Strouse

Stars: Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Sam Heughan, Celine Dion

Rating: 2/5

Know before you go
  • Jebel Akhdar is a two-hour drive from Muscat airport or a six-hour drive from Dubai. It’s impossible to visit by car unless you have a 4x4. Phone ahead to the hotel to arrange a transfer.
  • If you’re driving, make sure your insurance covers Oman.
  • By air: Budget airlines Air Arabia, Flydubai and SalamAir offer direct routes to Muscat from the UAE.
  • Tourists from the Emirates (UAE nationals not included) must apply for an Omani visa online before arrival at evisa.rop.gov.om. The process typically takes several days.
  • Flash floods are probable due to the terrain and a lack of drainage. Always check the weather before venturing into any canyons or other remote areas and identify a plan of escape that includes high ground, shelter and parking where your car won’t be overtaken by sudden downpours.

 

ASIAN RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP 2024

Results
Hong Kong 52-5 UAE
South Korea 55-5 Malaysia
Malaysia 6-70 Hong Kong
UAE 36-32 South Korea

Fixtures
Friday, June 21, 7.30pm kick-off: UAE v Malaysia
At The Sevens, Dubai (admission is free).
Saturday: Hong Kong v South Korea

Ramy: Season 3, Episode 1

Creators: Ari Katcher, Ryan Welch, Ramy Youssef
Stars: Ramy Youssef, Amr Waked, Mohammed Amer
Rating: 4/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Istanbul earthquake risk

- 50,000 - predicted death toll

- 7.5-7.7 on the Richter scale - the size of the predicted quake

- Over half - the number of buildings in Istanbul deemed unsafe by experts

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home. 

Latest
Most Read
Top Videos

The UAE Today

The latest news and analysis from the Emirates

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy
      The UAE Today